Chapter 33: Changes Attack With Cecily!
The time before recess is heavenly for Ilona.
Mrs. Chase, after getting grounded in where the lessons are at thanks to Susan, quickly picks up the reins. But first tells the class they are slightly behind plan. “No matter. It’s all good. We shall catch up soon enough,” Mrs. Chase exclaimed.
When the bell sounds, Ilona, Clara and Susan are met right away in the hallway by Madison, who drags them outside at superspeed. Cynthia and Collette scramble in behind to catch up.
“Details! Details! Details!” Madison demands, almost jumping with glee.
“Susan can fill us in the fastest with everything,” Cynthia explains.
With uncanny accuracy and amazing clarity, Ilona listens to the tale of the morning of Mrs. Chase. And eventhrough she was present for all of it, reliving it again with the genius of Susan brings more vivid feeling to the most awesome time SummerFall has ever seen.
“Wow,” Madison states, in a very subdued fashion, once Susan finishes, “Just plain wow.”
The rest of recess slams by with endless questions, comments, texts sent and received, and a gazillion high fives exchanged. Theories of what happened to the dreaded Mr. Michaels came and went in a flash, quickly being replaced with loud prayers hoping he never returns. In a flash the bell rings and amidst chaos and joy and high fives, Ilona and her friends gleefully re-enter SummerFall. More happiness, and as Susan points out catching up since she always knew they were behind in class, as Mrs. Chase leads her students onwards and upwards. Lunch time hits with not a one of them wanting to leave the teacher’s presence, but do so only because of hunger and an eager want to spread the news of the awesomeness of Mrs. Chase to all.
As everyone is getting ready to enjoy the Madison generated snow, Ilona notices Cynthia quietly smiling at her phone, than excusing herself with a short courtesy before heading the opposite way down the hall. Clara and Madison are not fazed by the exit, while Ilona, Susan and Collette, with worried faces, watch their friend leave.
“Dudettes, stop looking so sad,” Clara says to them, noticing their expressions, “She will be back. She’s probably just helping Mrs. Travis or saving the universe or something, y’know typical Cynthia stuff.”
Within minutes the friends are outside, and just as soon as Madison winds up her first snowball pitch, Cynthia comes back into view. And someone is with her. Someone smaller.
“Aim abit more to the left Madison or you will hit Mrs. Travis, and we would not want that would we?” Cynthia jokingly lectures as this smaller person stands nervously beside her.
“Def not! Mrs. Travis once saved me from a zombie attack! Or was that a dream?”
“Dream,” Clara and Susan answer in unison.
“Dangit, wished that was real,” Madison replies, then drops the snowball and hops in front of the smaller person with Cynthia, “Howdy partner! You’re new and short!”
Cynthia’s smaller companion goes wide-eyed at this introduction, than breaks into a smile.
“Howdy right back atcha!” the new person says, then turns to Cynthia, “Did I say that right? Was that okay?”
“You are doing wonderfully Cecily,” Cynthia replies, “Simply wonderfully,” she continues, tussling Cecily’s hair playfully.
Cynthia turns to everyone and beams a smile.
“Cecily, these are my friends, the ones I told you about. My amazing friends who are now your amazing friends. If you ever want an insane conversation, you have Madison and Clara. If you want an intellectual conversation, you have Collette and Susan. And if you just want someone to talk to, try Ilona or me.” Cynthia says all this very much in the same manner as she had before all that time ago.
“That is us in a nutshell,” Cynthia finishes with a warm smile and a wink to Ilona.
With this, all gather around Cecily and pepper her with hellos and introductions and knock knock jokes, with the last part mostly from Clara, and the younger girl replies with giggles and laughter.
“So whatcha reading right now?” Madison shouts over the din, slapping buttons on her smartphone all the while, “Gotta send a text to Tracey, updating her on all these exciting developments!”
“Well,” Cecily answers and watches Collette dazzle with a customized sock puppet, “I just started that book with the man with the trident on the cover, and before that I read Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume,”
“Praise be her name!” Clara and Madison chant together.
“They do that all the time, and for good reason, so no worries,” Collette explains to Cecily’s surprised face.
Cynthia starts playing with Cecily’s hair again, flipping its dark strands into the air.
“Yes, you will get used to them and their quirks while you are here,” Cynthia says.
Ilona gives a confused look to Cynthia, which her friend quickly notices.
“I am sorry, I forgot to fill everyone in. Cecily is a foster child staying with my family for awhile,” Cynthia looks at the younger girl and tosses her hair around some more, “Until they find some family somewhere, loving people who are really missing her.”
Madison jabs Cecily in the arm.
“Don’t worry partner, the grown-ups will find your relatives and Cynthia’s family will take great care of you. And we,” Madison sweeps her hand past all of them, “will do our best to help you party on!”
Cecily laughs as Madison and Clara go into a dance routine of some unknown origin, then joins in.
Ilona moves next to Cynthia and whispers. “Your family takes in foster children?”
Cynthia replies back with an even quieter whisper. “Several times, even before I was born, they have taken in children. Sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for a few months. Last year we had a little seven year old boy named Timothy for abit, and now he is with his relatives in Thunder Bay. Sweet boy, still emails us quite alot.”
Ilona did not know how to ask the next question, the one hanging on her tongue. Cynthia looks at Ilona’s eyes and reads her thoughts.
“Her parents are missing, no one knows where they are. They are reasonably sure she has relatives, hopefully here in Toronto, which is why the foster system put Cecily with us.”
“She’s not from here?”
“No, Cecily is from the United States.”
Ilona looks back over to Cecily. This young girl, who Ilona guesses is maybe nine years old at best, has lost her parents somehow to something, and is now living a new life, even a temporary one, with one of the best families she has ever known. Cecily has every right to be scared, hurt and afraid, but she is instead laughing and throwing back her dark hair and dancing the “batusi” with her friends, a dance Ilona mentally notes to ask about later. She sees all this and realizes Cecily needs exactly what Ilona needed. Friends. Loving caring friends.
As the “batusi” dancing breaks off, Ilona walks over to Cecily and gives her a huge hug.
“Welcome to Canada,” she says.
“Thank you,” Cecily replies.
“Wait, wait, wait, you’re not from Canada?” Susan interjects.
“Yes, I am from New York City, which is in New York State, which is in the United States,” Cecily starts listing every place with her fingers.
“Guess what! I am from New York City, which is in New York State, which is in the United States,” Susan answers back, also listing every place with her fingers, “Welcome fellow American!”
Cecily and Susan embrace and start singing, “I Love New York!”
And stop really quickly, even through Cecily could carry a tune quite well.
“Never could remember the words,” Susan laughs.
“How long have you been in Toronto?” Cecily asks.
“For the last few years, my mom is from here, so when my dad left us we came back,” Susan answers, “Married men should not have girlfriends on the side, a general rule of life he forgot about,”
Cecily gasps, as does Ilona. She knew Susan’s father is not around, but did not know the details till now.
“Okay enough with the melodrama and show tunes!” Clara jumps in, “We gotta get you caught up with all the shenanigans from this day, heck this year, that we have gotten into!”
Cecily stares at Clara’s face, then looks at Ilona’s.
“Are you two related?” the young girl asks.
Ilona and Clara glance at each other, confused.
“No, we aren’t related,” Ilona states.
“Oh, I am surprised. You two look alike, especially around the mouths,” Cecily says, eyes full of wonderment.
“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Song For This Chapter: Penny’s Song by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.